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Image / Beauty

Why trying simple nail art gave me the confidence to fit in by standing out


by Aisling Keenan
29th Sep 2019
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Trying something new with your beauty can shake you up so much you feel like a different person. Here’s why some simple nail art gave me the sass I needed to fit in at Fashion Week…


I go on about it a lot, but my ‘thing’ when it comes to nails, basic as it is, is almond shaped, natural and true red. I never stray. My nail tech hates me, I’m sure.

But when thrust into the colourful, slightly mental and ‘you do you’ world of London Fashion Week earlier this month, I veered off course dramatically (well, for me) and got some nail art done at House of Lady Muck, the most glam nail spot in London.

Why? Well, to put it honestly, I felt so out of place. Everywhere I looked, there were girls and guys living their most authentic lives, wearing what they wanted, saying what they wanted, not caring who was judging them. I felt shy by comparison, I was fading into the background like a grey pavement slab on a London street.

I wasn’t expressing myself nearly as much as the people around me, and when I sat down in front of the lovely Hayley to pick my Vinylux shade – the one I always wear – my subconscious mind obviously knew this was my chance to do something different.

simple nail art

Instead of asking for the same thing I always ask for, buoyed on by the thumping Destiny’s Child track in the background of the incredibly busy Topshop on Oxford Street, where the salon was located, I thought – no. I’ll try something different. I suddenly didn’t have a care in the world about what the end result would be, what meetings I had later in the week that I’d need ‘my’ nails for. I was just going for it.

It might sound absolutely meaningless to you, but for me, with diagnosed OCD, it was huge. I was so exhilarated by the whole thing it felt like my chest was filled with bees buzzing around.

Granted, the atmosphere in London, the incredible Pam Hogg show I had just seen (where the models were so diverse I don’t think one even vaguely resembled any other) the people I was with and the fact that I was out of my comfort zone already added to the gut-flutteringly intense feeling, but the nails were symbolic.

After they were done, I went downstairs in Topshop and bought a pair of Quay Australia sunglasses that I’d seen someone on Instagram wearing that I thought I could never get away with. I was a new woman, all because I’d broken out of my usual beauty mould.

If you need a little jolt from the monotony, go crazy. Get some (admittedly very gentle) nail art. Be yourself!

Photography by Aisling Keenan.


Read more: The 20 best mismatched nails on Instagram

Read more: Turns out ASAP Rocky has the best nail art inspiration on Instagram

Read more: Your next chic manicure should be tortoiseshell nails

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